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- Year: 2008
- Country: Transnational
- Language: English
- Document Type: Publication
- Topic: Academic Initiatives,Aid Effectiveness,Defending Civil Society,Regional/Global Overviews
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Strategies to Advance Civic Space in Countries with Limited Adherence to the Rule of Law:
Report on the Argent ine Dialogue: 2001-2005
The ICNL-Cordaid Civil Liberties Prize
Regional Director of Advocacy and Citizen Committee
for Caritas in Latin America and the Caribbean
This manuscript was submitted for consideration for the ICNL-Cordaid Civil Liberties Prize in
January 2008. More information regarding the prize and winners can be found at
The Argentine Dialogue was a process which, by means of the widespread
participation of Argentine soci ety, has intended to contribute to the reconstruction of the
basis of social cohabitation in the Argentine Republic. It was called by the Argentine
Government, with the participation of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, and the
technical support of the United Nations Development Programme .
The objectives of this dialogue were: the involvement of political, corporate, labour and
social forces to undergo a process of national dialogue, fi nd general solutions for the
mid and long term and work on the definition of a national sustainable project.
In the development of the Argentine Dialogu e we can identify two stages. The first one
included the following stages: “Dialogue with Leaders” of the different sectors of
society; Section Boards, aimed at reaching a series of basic agreements to face the
emergency and develop general consents on public policies; and the devise and
commitment summarized in the document of consent titled, “ Basis for Reforms”
intended to implement fundamental changes in the transition period.
This process achieved positive results: to recover dialogue as a consensus generating
instrument, to contribute to social peace-maki ng in light of the crisis; to recover the
essential values for life in society; to fo ster actions to meet the needs of social
emergency and to reform social policies and identify the basic consents for the
In the second stage (2003-2005) various social sectors called for the continuation of the
process. Accordingly, an Extended Board of the Argentine Dialogue, with the
participation of a large number of repres entatives of non government and religious
organizations, and corporate and workers entities. Religious communities are the
largest and best-organized civi l institutions, claiming the allegiance across race, class,
and national divides. These communities ha ve particular cultural understandings,
infrastructures, and resources to get help where it is needed most. This stage of the
Argentine Dialogue featured a greater involvement of civil society .
The Argentine Dialogue offered the institutional space, ac ted as a catalyst, which should
be accompanied by the leading participati on and new attitudes and actions by the
players of all areas, as from the number of social and communal institutions. However,
the contributions and innovations that this experience has provided to the transition
process in favor of the Argentine society r econstruction seem to be highly significant.
When it comes to a global evaluation, the Dialogue contributions should not be
forgotten as regards the recovery of national dialogue and the contributions to the
interests of social pacificati on and restoration of essential values for the coexistence and
reconstruction of the common good.
When revising the process developed by the Argentine Dialogue, it may be recognized
that the stages of the exchanges made with th e players such as deliberations of sectorial
coordination tables have been valuable experiences, learning exercises that have
boosted and validated the way for the dialogue as a crucial methodology to solve
conflicts and reach main consensus to deve lop State policies in a democratic society.
This consideration reinforces the conviction that even though the results achieved by the
Argentine Dialogue up to now are significant, there are still pending some important
tasks and phases to develop th e dialogue among Argentine people , and it should finally
be incorporated effectively to the institut ional and social practice of the democratic
process in our country.
Thus, the Argentine Dialogue is a solid base to boost th e efforts even more in
order to widen and consolidate the consensus, to implement the reforms demanded
by society, to advance in the jo int construction of the State policies, to project a country
strategic vision for Argentina.
Angela Cristina Calvo
Buenos Aires, 16/01/2008
The ICNL-Cordaid Civil Liberties Prize
STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE CIVI C SPACE IN COUNTRIES WITH
LIMITED ADHERENCE TO THE RULE OF LAW:
REPORT ON THE ARGENTINE DIALOGUE: 2001-2005
1. COMPARATIVE INTERNATIONAL ANALYSIS 1. COMPARATIVE INTERNATIONAL ANALYSIS
1.1 A view to the national dialogue processes in Latin America
Almost all countries in Latin America
share the opinion that in the past two years the
development process has basically been guided
by economic policies which essentially followed
the tenets of “Washingt on Consensus” (fiscal
discipline, free trade, privatization, openness to
foreign direct investment, among others) and has
not been translated into continuous improvement
in the quality of life for most of the people. In
view of this situation, the aim was to implement
the economics policy with deeper institutional
and judicial reforms, more extensive rights to the
security given to the pr ivate investment, direct
interventions to reduce poverty and the creation
of mechanisms to provide a higher degree of legal
and civil security. (Zovatto, 2002)
Characteristics of a national dialogue process